Every dog owner hopes for a long and happy life with their pet and there is no reason this can’t be the case. But, as with humans, older age has its challenges. Based on their wealth of experience in these matters, the team at Clent Hills Vets has put together a list of handy tips to give you an overview of the basics of caring for an older dog.
We hope these tips will help you and your dog to enjoy their senior years.
The age at which a dog is considered senior varies according to breed and size. Generally, toy or small dogs are considered to reach old age at between 7 and 12-plus years, medium dogs from 7-plus and large or giant dogs from 5-plus.
Your dog’s needs will change as it ages, particularly in terms of exercise and diet.
Older dogs need less exercise, but it is still important to get the balance right between diet and physical activity. For more in-depth information on your pet’s dietary requirements, our vet Alun will be happy to advise you when you book an appointment, but as a general rule, if you can’t easily feel your dog’s ribs, it is probably overweight.
Older dogs may be less resilient to the elements, so consider providing a jacket to protect against the rain and cold, always dry them off after a wet walk and make sure their bed is warm and free from draughts.
Older dogs should be fed smaller portions more frequently and there are plenty of age-specific diets which are lighter in calories and may help to reduce the chances of weight gain.
As your dog ages it might experience diminishing hearing and eyesight – which may make it less responsive or more easily startled – some loss of bladder control, dental problems, and joint pain or arthritis. For all these issues, again, the team at Clent Hills Vets will be happy to advise you and help your dog stay young for longer.